Distech Controls - Warning About New IO-16 and IO-34 Modules - Niagara AX

Tech Tip: Warning About New IO-16 and IO-34 Modules

Date: Jan 07, 2010
Product: IO-16 and IO-34 Modules
Revision: NiagaraAX (all revisions)

Problem

Customers are reporting that IO-16 and IO-34 modules do not communicate "right out of the box". The "PWR OK" led on the IO-34 is lit up, but the device remains undiscoverable in Workbench (in the Ndio Board Manager view). The IO-16 has no LEDs lit, and also cannot be discovered. The IO modules are brand new, unused units.

Cause

The IO-16 or IO-34 module was initially powered up for too brief a time and then powered off, interrupting an "automatic IO firmware upgrade" that was underway. The JACE keeps the latest NDIO firmware in its image distribution, and automatically updates any attached IO module found with older IO firmware. This IO firmware upgrade process occurs for each attached IO module, in sequence, starting with the lowest logical address IO board (IO module closest to JACE). During an IO firmware download, the JACE's Status LED has a long duty cycle blink--long On, blinking Off.

You can observe this IO firmware upgrade process with a serial shell connection to a JACE booting up with such IO modules:

 "updateIOFirmware updating proc <0> with </sys/images/T2021_111.a43>.                                                                    
 write ndio core download cmd...                               
 .................................................................                                                                 
 ndio firmware file downloaded and <652> records sent for proc <0>.                                                                  
 ndio write update download cmd...                                 
 .................................................................                                                                 
 ndio firmware file downloaded and <652> records sent for proc <0>.                                                                  
 ndio firmware update complete for proc <0>"

This IO firmware upgrade takes at least 30 seconds for each IO-16 module, and at least 60 seconds for an IO-34 module. Therefore, if multiple IO modules are attached with older IO firmware, it can take as long as 4 minutes of uninterrupted power to safely complete this operation. Once completed, the JACE continues booting and starts its platform daemon process. Therefore it is always safe to cycle power to the JACE once a platform connection can be made.

If the JACE is powered down or if the IO module is removed during this IO firmware update, the IO module becomes unusable and must be returned to Tridium to be re-imaged. The "PWR OK" LED will show green on an IO-34 even after is has been broken this way, but it will remain undiscoverable and unusable.

Solution

As long as the JACE and IO modules are given sufficient time to update the software the first time the JACE is powered on with the IO modules attached, then the "STATUS" LED should show green and the IO module should work properly. This IO firmware upgrade takes at least 30 seconds for each IO-16 module, and at least 60 seconds for an IO-34 module. To be safe, add some additional "margin time"--wait at least 4 minutes before removing power to the JACE or unplugging IO modules.

Note
Once the IO modules have the same IO firmware level as the JACE, this firmware download no longer occurs. However, in the future when upgrading (installing a new dist file) in a JACE with IO modules, remember that this automatic firmware upgrade may repeat. Therefore, be careful not to interrupt power to it until you can re-establish a platform connection.

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